Miami Middletown event highlights immigrant student success

Published: Friday, July 07, 2017 @ 6:00 PM

Miami Middletown event highlights immigrant student success

They collectively spoke 12 languages — French, Twi, Spanish, Khmer, Chinese, Korean, Portugese, Vietnamese, Nepali, Arabic, Uzbek, and Russian — and came from 15 different countries, but on Friday these high school students were focused only on English.

Thirty-three students from Fenwick, Middletown, Fairfield, Monroe and Centerville high schools gathered at the Miami University Middletown campus to celebrate the end of the college’s English Language Center’s first intensive high school summer program. 

MORE: International student ranks swelling at Miami Middletown

“(Miami University Regionals’) dean and administrators want to be a better area partnership to our high schools,” ELC Regional Director Jerry Martin said. “We want to collaborate more. We don’t just want our students to come and enroll at Miami University Regionals, we want them to also be successful, so the earlier we can reach them the better for everybody.”

The pilot program, funded from the ELC’s programming budget, lasted five and a half hours a day for eight weeks, according to Martin, during which students were required to speak only in English.

Martin joked about scolding a student for greeting him with “hola” and then slipping up himself by saying “audios” later that day.

The program’s students had varying degrees of English proficiency before starting the program, and some had only lived in America for six months, but “every single one that joined this summer moved forward,” Martin said. The program boosted students’ confidence in their ability to speak, read, write and present in English, as Martin observed while reading reflections they wrote about halfway through the course.

RELATED: International students’ impact in Ohio: $1.1 billion

Each high school participant delivered a presentation on an endangered species, the culminating project of the course, to college ELC students, and received a certificate of completion.

Rising Fairfield junior Lisbeth Jimenez Maradiaga, for example, said that while she would have given her English skills a 49 percent grade before the program, she would now say they are closer to 90 percent or even 100 percent.

“I have been in the U.S. for almost three years,” said Maradiaga, who immigrated from Honduras. “But in high school I have a lot of friends who speak Spanish, so (I thought that) I didn’t need to speak English. But in this program it’s only English, no Spanish, no other language, so it’s helped me because I spent seven or six hours in here with only English, I hear a lot of English and speak English.”

Another Fairfield student, rising junior Vanessa Prempeh, said that though she was good at English before, she participated in the program because she “wanted to be perfect.” Now she can more easily understand American English speakers, something she struggled with before.

Several teachers and administrators from participating high schools were also present to celebrate their students’ accomplishments, including Fairfield ESL teacher Sonia Aguila, who was able to observe her students’ growth first hand.

“Just seeing them here being able to be more fluent in (English), in speaking and presenting and not being embarrassed about speaking English, (is very exciting), Aguila said. “Speaking with the other teachers that work with them, I have heard amazing things about all the work that they put into learning English, which makes me very proud.”

Men accused of pouring insecticide in Walmart toy department

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 4:03 PM

Two men are seen in surveillance footage at a Walmart in Millington, Tennessee, after police say they intentionally poured insecticide in the children's toy department of a Walmart on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017.
Millington Police Department
Two men are seen in surveillance footage at a Walmart in Millington, Tennessee, after police say they intentionally poured insecticide in the children's toy department of a Walmart on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017.(Millington Police Department)

Two men are accused of pouring insecticide in the children's toy department of a Tennessee Walmart over the weekend, according to authorities.

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Millington police said the incident happened Sunday. 

The men were seen on video "vandalizing property and intentionally spilling insecticide chemicals in the children's toy department," according to a news release.

Officers said the men left the scene in a white pick-up truck that had two stripes down the center.

Authorities continued to search for the men Monday.

The City of Millington Police Department is asking for your assistance to identify these suspects. They are persons of...

Posted by Millington Tennessee Police Department on Monday, October 23, 2017

Trial begins for school bus stop sex assault suspect

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:58 PM


A Dayton man accused of kidnapping a girl at knife-point and sexually assaulting her while she was waiting for the school bus was in court this afternoon for the start of his trial.

Randy Stanaford, 39, is charged with rape of a child less than 13 years old and kidnapping.

Stanaford, a registered sex-offender, was accused of kidnapping the 11-year-old girl while she was waiting for the school bus near the intersection of Edgar and Heaton avenues in Dayton last September, according to prosecutors.
RELATED: Bus stop rape suspect pleads not guilty

"This defendant, a homeless registered sex offender, kidnapped and raped an 11 year old girl, who was a complete stranger,” said Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr.

The 39-year-old was convicted in Butler County in 2008 for attempted kidnapping and public indecency and was released from prison in August 2015.

A jury was selected for Stanaford’s trial Monday morning and opening statements began shortly after 3 p.m.

If convicted as charged, Stanaford would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Ex-Dayton coach, aide gets 5 years of probation for multiple felonies

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:55 PM

Former Dayton Public Schools coach and classroom aide Donte D. Murphy was sentenced to five years of probation.
Staff Writer
Former Dayton Public Schools coach and classroom aide Donte D. Murphy was sentenced to five years of probation.(Staff Writer)

A judge this month sentenced former Dayton Public Schools classroom aide and coach Donte D. Murphy to five years of probation. 

Murphy had been convicted of one count each of forgery and tampering with government records, plus three counts of sexual battery. All counts were felonies. 

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records show Murphy presented an altered state permit to Dayton schools to keep coaching after his valid permit expired in 2014. 

RELATED: Murphy had previous prostitution-related conviction 

Murphy was fired as an aide and track coach at Ponitz Career Technology Center in March, 2016, according to court and school records. 

Attorneys for the state and Murphy agreed that he had consensual sexual intercourse with an 18-year-old Ponitz student-athlete twice after the March date. The defense argued the sex was not a crime then, but the judge ruled that Murphy coached until May 4, when Dayton school officials confronted him about the allegations. 

House defense leader at Wright Patt, says AF pilot shortage growing

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:43 PM

Making his first trek to Wright-Patterson, House Armed Services Committee chairman and U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said the shortage of Air Force pilots could exceed 1,900 based on what the high-level congressional leader was told last week.

The Air Force has been “hemorrhaging” pilots in a growing shortage that shows the impact sequestration has had on the military, a top congressional defense leader said.

Making his first trek to Wright-Patterson, House Armed Services Committee chairman and U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said the shortage of Air Force pilots could exceed 1,900 based on what the high-level congressional leader was told last week. At the end of fiscal year 2016, the Air Force estimated it was about 1,500 aviators short.

“This is an example of where cutting the defense budget by 20 percent since 2010 has real consequences,” Thornberry said at a press conference Monday at the Miami Valley base with U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, chairman of the House Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee.

Thornberry and Turner went on a private tour Monday of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, which dedicated a $29.5 million foreign technology exploitation facility last Friday, and met with Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of the Air Force Materiel Command, to discuss defense needs.

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Turner said sequestration, or automatic defense budget cuts, has had a “devastating impact across the board” to the Department of Defense. The spending reductions were enacted under the Budget Control Act of 2011 and meant to last a decade.

“This is all about we need an adequately funded budget with consistency so that the Department of Defense can plan,” he said.

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order expanding Air Force authority to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years, but an Air Force spokesperson said the military branch did not plan currently to pull those pilots back into the cockpit, the Associated Press reported.

The Air Force was limited to recalling 25 retired pilots under current law.

“We are short (aircraft) maintainers in the thousands and even if we are able to pass the ideal defense budget next week, you can’t just flip a switch and have a competent fighter pilot or a competent maintainer appear out of thin air,” Thornberry said. “It takes time to develop the expertise, it takes money to go through the training.

“That’s part of the reason the Air Force is looking at these other authorities to bring people back in because we’ve been hemorrhaging pilots,” the congressman added. “When they can’t fly, they leave.”

RELATED: Some of U.S.’s most secretive work will be done in new NASIC building

Pentagon spending has been capped at last fiscal year’s levels since Oct. 1 when Congress failed to pass a new defense bill before the start of the 2017 fiscal year. Since then, the military has operated under a continuing resolution, set to expire Dec. 8.

“One of the highest priorities … in the next few weeks in Congress is to have an adequate defense budget passed and signed into law so that these people (at Wright-Patterson) have the resources and the funding stability they need to just focus on their work,” Thornberry said. “They don’t need to worry about Washington politics interfering with what they do because it is so important to the country.”

While the Pentagon has pushed as recently as this month for a Base Realignment and Closure process, citing nearly 20 percent excess capacity, Thornberry said an analysis is needed first before bases close or units relocate.

RELATED: Defense forum targets ways to collaborate on jobs, bases, leaders say

“Before you start closing bases or giving up training ranges, you better know what size military you will need because once you give something up, you’re never going to get it back,” he said. “Certainly for me, I don’t rule it out, but I want to see the data and I want to see the assumptions that it’s based upon before me move forward.”